Zeena Fuleihan ’18
Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, has been one of the most defining aspects of my college career, as it offers a plethora of exciting opportunities for its student members. Beyond serving as an officer of Macalester’s Alpha Rho Theta chapter since my sophomore year, I received funding through Sigma Tau Delta for one of my summer internships at the Poetry Center of Chicago, had my reflection of the experience published on their blog, and most recently, served as one of the two Sigma Tau Delta Journal Interns for their literary journals. The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, Journal of Creative Writing, Volume 93, 2018 and The Sigma Tau Delta Review, Journal of Critical Writing, Volume 15, 2018 were both published in print and online this past February.
From April through November of 2017, the other Journal Intern, Abe, and I worked remotely with the Managing Editor, Dan Colson, to read and score submissions, make edits on the selected pieces, double-check bibliographies, layout the journals in InDesign, and go through many rounds of PDF proofing and editing. Though the three of us were all in different states, we used a combination of Skype, email, Google Docs, and Dropbox to get the work done. For the most part, Dan sent Abe and me assignments and we split up the tasks evenly, beginning with reading and scoring the submissions, each with about 60-70 critical papers and 60-70 creative writing pieces.
After the submission review process ended and the final selections were made, Abe and I set on inputting Dan’s line edits to the pieces and updating bibliographies for The Review—since MLA 8 came out not too long ago, we had to convert a lot of bibliographies from MLA 7 to 8. This process also included tracking down the correct bibliographic information for some of the entries. Now that I’ve been on the other end of reading papers and bibliographies, it is clear to me when a student uses an online bibliography generator instead of writing the entries by hand because often the information that those online tools provide is incorrect or messy . . . so here’s a little nudge to do your homework properly! On the bright side, I can now write MLA 8 bibliography entries in my sleep.
The most intense portion of work was laying out the journals in InDesign. After we made our initial layouts, we had many rounds of edits to input. One of the major challenges of applying edits to a journal layout is maintaining the standardized form aspects while making changes, so we often had to reshuffle pieces in order to keep all the starting pages and biographies in the right places. Our final round of edits came from a professional designer, who suggested changes that aligned with the general literary journal industry style. Ultimately, though, it was up to the interns which of these changes we wanted to make, allowing us to have the final say on the appearance of the journals.
Now, a few months later, the print journals have arrived in the Macalester English Department and it is so rewarding to see them in physical form! One of the poets included in The Rectangle is Macalester’s own Miriam Moore-Keish ’19. Last year’s The Review also included a wonderful essay by Macalester English Alum (and previous Words editor) Liz Hallgren ’17. The 2018 volumes are available for reading in the Macalester English Department lounge, but you can also read the PDF version on the Sigma Tau Delta website. The Sigma Tau Delta Journal Internship gave me a chance to put my InDesign skills to use and gain experience doing remote work on a big project, both of which are extremely useful as freelance opportunities in the literary realm are becoming more popular. I highly recommend the internship, which comes with a $1,500 stipend, to any Macalester English Honor Society member. If you’re not interested in working on the backend of a journal, English Honor Society members are also eligible to submit their critical papers or creative writing. More information on both of these opportunities is available on the Sigma Tau Delta website.